Obama's Betrayal on Don't Ask Don't Tell

The president's forgotten civil rights promise.

Wars are riddled with all kinds of twisted ironies. During the Civil War, the Union army initially spurned blacks who it was crusading to emancipate—while the Confederate army recruited them in the final desperate hours of its fight to enslave them. In World War II, the United States sacrificed about half a million American soldiers to defeat Nazi racism. Yet the U.S. itself practiced strict racial segregation, including within its military.

Given such blatant historic contradictions, it seems like no big deal that now, while the U.S. valiantly tries to plant tolerant liberal regimes in Islamic countries, at home it harbors among the most intolerant policies toward gays in the military in the Western world. But just as with abolition and desegregation, equal rights for gays is an idea whose time is way overdue—especially the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell," the policy that bars known gays from serving in the military. The question is whether President Barack Obama will lead the way to its repeal—as he promised he would during his campaign—or back-pedal to political safety, as he seems to be doing.

America's NATO allies, with the exception of Turkey and a few others, allow gays in the military. And the cause of gay rights on the whole has made major strides in the U.S., notwithstanding the California Supreme Court's recent refusal to overturn Prop 8, the ballot initiative Golden State voters approved that bars gay marriage. Five states have legalized gay marriage, including, recently, Iowa—hardly a cornucopia of radical activism. And upward of 75 percent of the general public favors the repeal of Don't Ask.

However, 1,000 retired military officials recently sent a letter to the president urging him to stand by Don't Ask. They say that the military's sole purpose is to wage and win wars, and that requires military cohesiveness. To foster that, they insist, the military needs flexibility to set its own rules even if these rules are at odds with fundamental constitutional values and social trends.

There is no constitutional right to serve in the military, they maintain—and about that, they are certainly right. But that doesn't mean that the military should simply ignore basic constitutional protections, not to mention the demands of ordinary justice, absent an actual showing of harm. So the real issue is, does the empirical evidence, from home and abroad, support the claims that allowing gays to serve openly would undermine military performance?

Although the research on this question tends to be dominated by activists, still, the answer is: No.

Even on its own terms, Don't Ask was a particularly dumb policy because it lifted the ban on gay service but barred them from officially admitting their status. This meant that the country compromised its commitment to equal protection and still exposed itself to what the military says is potential harm from the gay presence, maximizing the damage on all fronts. If there is an upside to the law, it is that 16 years hence it is apparent that in fact there is no upside to keeping gays out or relegating them to the closet.

If the presence of gay soldiers were disruptive for the military, tolerance for gays would be falling among troops. In fact, post-Don't Ask, tolerance has gone up significantly. A 2006 Zogby poll of returning Iraq and Afghanistan vets found that 72 percent were "personally comfortable" around gays. This is significant not only because it is in line with broader public opinion, but it reflects their experience with known gays among NATO troops.

Nor does the evidence from other countries suggest that the heavens will fall if Don't Ask is scrapped. Take Israel, for instance. Unlike the United States, it never actively barred gays, thanks to conscription—but it restricted avowed gays from serving in top positions or sensitive intelligence jobs.

Israel's military hasn't become a ragamuffin force since it lifted these restrictions in 1993. It remains among the best fighting forces in the world. Indeed, a 2001 study by Aaron Belkin and Melissa Levitt of the University of California, Santa Barbara's Palm Center, which studies sexual minorities in the military, found no evidence that allowing known gays to serve in top jobs has diminished performance. Gay rights opponents dismiss this research on grounds that the Palm Center is a front for gay advocates. But the U.S. government's own General Accounting Office took an in-depth look at four gay-tolerant countries in 1993 and found no ill-effects on their militaries either. Likewise, another 1993 study by the Rand Corp. found "no direct evidence regarding the effects of the presence of acknowledged homosexuals on unit cohesion and unit performance."

Indeed, so mainstream has the idea of an integrated force become in Israel that a 2002 film, Yossi & Jagger, depicting the travails and triumphs of a closet gay commander in love with a soldier in his unit, was not only a big hit with the public, it also received official military screenings. "Gay presence has become a total non-issue for the Israeli army," says Yossi Shain, a commentator and political scientist at the Tel Aviv University.

Similarly, England—whose military nine years ago was forced, kicking and screaming, by courts to include gays—has now seamlessly assimilated them—so much so that most younger Brits can't even understand what the big fuss was to begin with.

Repealing Don't Ask won't hand gays a license to turn the military into a hub of gay activity, as some conservatives no doubt fear. There are, after all, better ways of getting a date than going through boot camp. Its repeal will simply protect gays from being penalized for admitting that they are gay. Rules against sexual fraternization—both among homosexuals and heterosexuals—will still remain in place, meaning that troops will have plenty of reason to maintain decorum and discretion. Gay Israeli soldiers apparently don't go around flaunting their sexuality even though there isn't any official penalty for doing so.

But while both public opinion—and evidence—are lining up in favor of repealing Don't Ask, President Obama is going in the opposite direction. The White House's civil rights Web site in recent weeks has significantly watered down the strong language it was using to signal its commitment to scrapping the law. Even more troubling, Obama did nothing—not so much as utter a whisper of protest—when West Point grad Dan Choi, an Iraq veteran and an Arab linguist, was fired recently for revealing that he was gay.

President Obama is pleading for time to push this issue until after, presumably, he has averted global warming, revived the economy, and implemented universal health coverage. But to backburner a major civil rights cause for which the country is ready, and that is well within his power to advance, in order to save the world first, bespeaks a profound megalomania.

He ought to get his priorities straight.

Shikha Dalmia is a senior analyst at Reason Foundation and a biweekly columnist for Forbes. This article originally appeared at Forbes.

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  • Alan Vanneman||

    Didn't we already do this? I remember writing something that was pretty damn witty. Well, maybe not.

  • a name before submitting the f||

    If he just straight-up repealed it, wouldn't things go back to the way they were?

  • ||

    "Didn't we already do this? I remember writing something that was pretty damn witty. Well, maybe not."

    Must have come from Tony. Gay man AND one hell of an elegant writer.

  • ||

    Wait, is this another article about Obama totally not doing something he said he'd do? They're all starting to blur together.

  • ||

    I just Hope no one really expected much to Change.

  • BeesInTheBrain||

    Formula for article on Gay Rights

    Bring up Nazi murdering millions of Jews. Check

    Bring up slavery. Check

    Make parallel to current situation facing gays. Check

    Bonus points for show unintentional irony by supporting the "little brown brothers" philosophy in regards to Islamic countries.

  • Some Guy||

    Bush made a bunch of promises to religious nutjobs to get rid of abortion, etc, then promptly did nothing - not even lip service - to stop it once in office. (TWICE!)

    Obama made a bunch of promises to gay soldiers to let them serve our country without being punished for it, then promptly did nothing - not even lip service - to let them once in office. (I'd note marriage rights, too, but he sold them out on that before the election.)

    Ah, our wonderful two-party system...

  • ||

    This meant that the country compromised its commitment to equal protection and still exposed itself to what the military says is potential harm from the gay presence, maximizing the damage on all fronts.



    Good point!

    I never understood how the same people insisting our soldiers were the most hardened warriors the world has ever known also insisted that they couldn't bear the squeamishness of sharing a barracks with gay men.

  • ||

    Can't say he never does anything right...

  • Sosnowski||

    Probably won't be too much of an issue directly when it happens, as it will, but it will further complicate the Army's already insane and destructive Equal Opportunity program.

    In any case, the parallel with desegregation is weak, not to say facile; this is an issue of behavior, not identity, certainly not inborn identity.

  • ||

    Clinton really screwed up the whole issue. Harry Truman didn't wait for congress to pass a law about racial segregation in the military, he was the commander-in-chief, and he gave an order. Obama could do that today if he had the guts.

    -jcr

  • ||

    I hope that Obama is a secret gay Muslim.

  • ||

    "I never understood how the same people insisting our soldiers were the most hardened warriors the world has ever known also insisted that they couldn't bear the squeamishness of sharing a barracks with gay men."

    in 1977 I coached at Camp Woodward in PA. Shared a barracks setting known as the coop with about 20 male gymnasts many under the age of 18 and about 4 or 5 gay dancers from NY. We all ate together, showered together, shot pool at the Milheim Hotel together (the kids didn't go into Milheim at night. No one thought a thing about it. Young boys sleeping and showering with gay men.

    So I gotta agree with Tony here.

  • Michelle Obama||

    "I hope that Obama is a secret gay Muslim."

    How'd you know I'm frontin'? What gave it away?

  • ||

    Your manly arms.

  • Michelle Obama||

    "Your manly arms."

    Let's hope you watch your back as closely as you bo my arms, honey.

  • ||

    My wife can't get over the media obsession with Michelle Obama. There were a few weeks where they kept mentioning her arms, and Mrs. Libertate finally said, "What's the big deal? Conde Rice was in much better shape than Michelle Obama, and the media didn't hump her arms."

  • Tomcat1066||

    In any case, the parallel with desegregation is weak, not to say facile; this is an issue of behavior, not identity, certainly not inborn identity.

    It's "certainly" not inborn identity? Really? Care to share the definitive science on that one?

  • ||

    Clinton really screwed up the whole issue. Harry Truman didn't wait for congress to pass a law about racial segregation in the military, he was the commander-in-chief, and he gave an order. Obama could do that today if he had the guts.

    Says a lot, doesn't it? As I pointed out earlier in the week, besides being completelt bigoted asshattery, DADT harms military readiness/effectiveness. The modern soldier, sailor, airman, or marine just doesn't give a rat's ass about sexual orientation. They've been winking at it for decades. Those few that really do worry about it can just get the fuck out.

  • ||

    My wife can't get over the media obsession with Michelle Obama.

    Big Media has a boner for Camelot, and get extra hard when they can cast a black man (but not too black!) as JFK. Michelle, of course, has to be Jackie, so the Big Media fawns over Michelle they way they imagine they would have over Jackie Kennedy.

  • ||

    Obama could do that today if he had the guts.



    I am the last guy to defend Obama on anything, but I don't think he could just order that being gay and in the military is ok. If I remember correctly, there is a specific article of the UCMJ that states that being gay and in the military is illegal. The UCMJ is not a regulation or policy, but a law set by congress. What I specifically think about whether this is a good law or not does not matter, the president is not supposed to be able to break the law at his own whim. If you support Obama breaking the law, then what other laws do you support him breaking? Congress needs to change the UCMJ. Obama can influence a lock, stock and barrel Democrat congress to change the UCMJ if he truly wanted to, which I doubt. Gays vote in block for the Democrats no matter what. Why should Obama actually back up his words with actions?

    I think Truman's order was before the adoption of the UCMJ. I doubt segregation of the military was a listed in the old "rocks & shoals" (Navy Regulations) and was but merely a policy. Truman had the authority to order a change in policy. If segregation was actually spelled out as a regulation, then he may have had the authority to order a change to a regulation as well.

  • ||

    Tony @ 12:51,

    First off, I support the abolition of the prohibition of gays serving in the US military. However, what is you response to me rewriting your entry.


    I never understood how the same people insisting our [female] soldiers [and sailors] were the most hardened warriors the world has ever known{are the equal of men] also insisted that they [women] couldn't bear the squeamishness of sharing a barracks with gay men.

  • ||

    Arrrrrgh!

    what is you your

  • ||

    Bush made a bunch of promises to religious nutjobs to get rid of abortion, etc, then promptly did nothing - not even lip service - to stop it once in office.



    What did GW Bush promise to do? I remember GW Bush stating that his beliefs were "Pro-life", but I don't remember him stating that he could do anything about it.

    GW Bush may have done some fucked-up shit, but lets only blame him for things he really did.

  • ||

    SeaLawyer,

    That's a different issue in my opinion, but the passage I quoted illustrates the absurdity of the comparison: gay and straight men (and gay and straight women) are already sharing showers. In fact they do so from middle school onward. Allowing gay servicemembers to be honest about their sexuality without fear of discharge doesn't change anything. The entire argument seems to amount to a little bit of an ego trip on the part of straight guys making it as well as a hint of an accusation that gays are incapable of controlling their libidos.

  • ellipsis||

    In World War II, the United States sacrificed about half a million American soldiers to defeat Nazi racism. Yet the U.S. itself practiced strict racial segregation, including within its military.



    World War II has become far too romanticized. If the U.S. was motivated to fight because of the Nazi threat, they would have joined up in 1933. The reason for entering the war was simple: self defense. Japan showed us we couldn't sit on the sidelines.

    As far as DADT and Obama, well, I guess people are finding out that politicians lie. Even messianic ones. A politician will sell out his own mother if it garnered more votes.

  • ||

    Why would gay men want to be in the military anyway, lol. Don't they have a broadway show to go to?

    Now some of those tough as hell lesbians, those we could probably use.

  • zoltan||

    LOL, you must not know many gays.

  • ||

    Correct, Obama cannot repeal DADT by himself, but he could issue a stop loss order, effectively neutering it. Since we're fighting two wars at once and losing key personnel to this policy, he'd be justified in doing so.

    Or at the very least, he could bully pulpit about it instead of staying silent like a pussy.

  • ||

    The modern soldier, sailor, airman, or marine just doesn't give a rat's ass about sexual orientation.

    Jsub,
    I think that you and me served in different parts of the military.

    The entire argument seems to amount to a little bit of an ego trip on the part of straight guys making it as well as a hint of an accusation that gays are incapable of controlling their libidos.

    No one is capable of controlling their libidos.!

  • Alan||

    I keep on hearing about how bad "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is. Certainly things should improve, and it is time to move on and allow gays to openly serve in the U.S. military, but we should also remember to put the policy in its historical perspective. When I joined the National Guard in 1988, every soldier was asked, in essence, if they were homosexual. Gays had two choices: admit it and be barred from serving, or lie.

    Don't Ask Don't Tell eliminated that question, and allowed gays to serve without the issue of their sexual orientation being brought up. That is far from perfect, but it was an improvement over the situation before. It should also be noted that, at that time, MOST soldiers would have been uncomfortable serving in a unit with openly gay men. The world has moved on, public opinions have changed, and the soldiers being recruited now were in diapers when Don't Ask Don't Tell was enacted. They have a whole new attitude to gays - probably established in part by Don't Ask Don't Tell and the realization that gay men are indistinguishable from straight men in most ways - and don't mind sharing a barracks with them.

    It is time to change the law again and give gays the full rights they have always deserved, but that doesn't change the fact that Don't Ask Don't Tell was a necessary and progressive step at the time it was taken - and one that made Clinton deeply unpopular with many soldiers at the time.

  • zoltan||

    That's foolish considering racial integration.

  • ||

    I take it from a lot of the comments here, and the article in question that most everyone here's familiarity with the military comes from Heinlin's "Starship Troopers." I, on the other hand, just finished a 4 year enlistment that thanks to the Stop-Loss suggested by - turned into a bit over a 5 year enlistment.

    There are two reasons that I know of, that no one wants to talk about, that make DADT a useful policy to have around.

    The first involves sexual harassment. Soldiers, when not deployed, spend a lot of time sitting around their company areas waiting on "the word" to be released for the day. Given that most barely got through high school, you can only do constructive hip-pocket training for a couple of hours, and then (assuming that nothing has come down), you may spend the rest of the day waiting around while the officers sit around in their air-conditioned offices, discussing golf until 5 in the afternoon. Of course, you can't leave during this time, "just in case" you are needed back. (I never once saw this happen. It's mainly just a power thing). So, you have a bunch of predominately male, 20-somethings sitting around. BORED. So, harassing each other becomes a past-time, frequently sexual in nature. Think the "ball game" from the movie "Waiting", but 10 times worse. The reason why this is considered acceptable is that it makes the harasser as uncomfortable as the harass-ee.

    Also, during field problems, especially during winter months, there is frequently a shortage of tent space, or no tent what-so-ever. This leads to people piling together "nut to butt" with the joking phrase "remember, it's not gay if you're cold."

    So, in these types of situations, a homosexual who doesn't have a very, very tolerant streak for jokes at their expense can very much go after the unit on sexual harassment charges.

    I realize that that particular defense is NOT terribly logical to someone who hasn't been in those situations, but it's the best I can do at trying to explain it.

    The second reason is that it provides a quick method for getting certain soldiers out of the army as quickly as possible.

    I have seen two soldiers discharged for being gay. Neither of them actually were. They were... special, I guess is the best way to put it. You know that kid in school who always ate wayyyy toooooo much paste, or the one whose mommy drank a lot, or the one who just kind of stared at the wall and laughed to himself constantly, and maybe talked to Jesus (and only Jesus) in a very meaningful and direct way? You ever wonder what happened to him? Yeah, he ended up in the army. And somehow, he made it through basic training, but at any rate, when he gets to his unit, he can't just be kicked back to the replacement company with a note pinned on him that says "try again."

    The thing is, once he gets there, some unlucky NCO (non-commissioned officer, a sergeant or higher rank) has to baby-sit his ass pretty much 24-7 to make sure he doesn't accidentally shoot someone he's not supposed to, or run over someone with a car, or blow all his money on drugs. This drains the unit's manpower baby sitting him. So, the baby sitter trains them what to say, they go to the company first sergeant, say they're gay, and a couple weeks later, they out with a general discharge.

    They don't have to pay back their enlistment bonus, but they don't get their full benefits (G.I. bill specifically), though most of them weren't exactly college material anyway. It's kind of the "no harm, no foul" type of discharge. This frees the baby sitter back up for constructive work. Essentially, it's an easy way to get rid of total dead weight from the unit that doesn't need much paperwork.

    Now, a counter-example. My battalion had a flamboyantly gay NCO in another company. This guy could have sucked the battalion Sergeant Major's cock and not gotten out before his term of service, because he was a good soldier. That's the true secret. The people who get out on DADT do so, by and large, because they are NOT GOOD SOLDIERS.

    Feel free to flame my ass away, but I am going to stick to these statements, as that's what I have seen with my own eyes.

    P.S. to - on the stop loss subject. Stop Loss is the worst idea the army ever came up with. It disintegrates morale, pisses off the veterans in a unit, and concentrates the loss of experienced man-power. Ending stop-loss is the one thing that Barack Obama has done that I actually agree with. And if anyone disagrees with me on this point, than you can eat shit and die. I'll volunteer to help you with both. (Yeah, I have strong feelings on this subject.)

  • Mike Laursen||

    Obama now appears to be back-pedaling his way to political safety

    And as quietly as possible.

  • ||

    P.S. to - on the stop loss subject. Stop Loss is the worst idea the army ever came up with. It disintegrates morale, pisses off the veterans in a unit

    Here I agree with you, but to me the possibility of prematurely discharged seamen is the only real problem with allowing gays to serve openly.

  • ||

    , the United States sacrificed about half a million American soldiers to defeat Nazi racism. Yet the U.S. itself practiced strict racial segregation, including within its military.>>

    =============
    What do they teach kids in school today?

    This moral relativism is total revisionist history.

    ---------------
    1941: Germany and Italy declare war on US

    Germany and Italy have announced they are at war with the United States. America immediately responded by declaring war on the two Axis powers.

    Three days ago, US President Franklin Roosevelt announced America was at war with Japan, the third Axis power, following the surprise attack on its naval base at Pearl Harbor.

    Today Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, made his declaration first - from the balcony over the Piazza Venezia in Rome - pledging the "powers of the pact of steel" were determined to win

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/december/11/newsid_3532000/3532401.stm

    ---------
    The U.S. going to war with Nazi Germany had nothing whatsoever to do with racism.

  • ||

    Five states have legalized gay marriage, including, recently, Iowa-hardly a cornucopia of radical activism. And upward of 75 percent of the general public favors the repeal of Don't Ask.>>
    ==================
    This is a big problem and pertuates the authority of the state over marriages.

    The government should not be involved in marriages whatsoever.

    The method of marriage should be solely at the descretion of two people without state involvement or sanction.

    What should be changed are the laws that favor couples over singles when it comes to things like taxes, health insurance etc. Then there would be no economic need for people to have the state get into the marriage business.

  • Kelso\'s Nuts||

    We are not impressed in Panama by Barack Obama and his FRIENDLY FASCIST army of WholeFoods/DailyKos/HuffingtonPost Guilty White Pseudo Liberals who are afraid of peace, LGBTQ rights, accountability, and most of all personal freedom.

    We don't need Barack Obama to write our banking laws for us, thank you. His "triumphant" visit to Latin America was seen as anything but in the local papers. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez correctly stated that he is far more of a true conservative -- fiscal responsibility, monetary neutrality, FORD MOTOR COMPANY stock/bond float on Caracas exchange -- than Obama could ever be. A REAL left-wing agent of change, Evo Morales of Bolivia, said "he's got a great story. I identify with him being the first indigenous president here, but Obama needs to stay the fuck out of Bolivia."

  • Bruce Majors||

    So now that Obama and Hillary oppose gay marriage and Obama procrastinates about ending the military ban, is the GOP led by Cheney now the gay civil rights party?

    GOP lawyer an 'eloquent' gay rights advocate
    Statements from former Bush attorney thrill LGBT activists Jun 05, 2009 | By: Lou Chibbaro Jr. | |

    The gay activist who initiated a controversial federal lawsuit last week to challenge California's Proposition 8 said he was surprised and moved when he interviewed Theodore Olson as a possible lead counsel on behalf of two same-sex couples.

    Olson, a former U.S. Solicitor General under the first President Bush, is known as a brilliant legal theorist and strategist for the conservative movement. He's credited with winning the highly contentious U.S. Supreme Court case Bush v. Gore that cleared the way for George W. Bush to win the 2000 presidential election.

    As it turns out, he's also a passionate advocate of civil rights and a supporter of LGBT equality.

    "I walked out of that meeting and I realized that I might have just met with perhaps one of the most articulate, impassioned spokespersons for our movement," said Chad Griffin, president of the newly created American Foundation for Equal Rights.

    "I called Ted as an openly gay man and a progressive Democrat," Griffin said, noting that advisers suggested he contact Olson in a long-shot attempt to line up a bipartisan legal team for the Proposition 8 challenge.

    "I thought of him as a very conservative member of the Federalist Society and as someone with whom there was not a single issue that I agreed with him on," Griffin told the Blade in a telephone interview this week.

    To his astonishment, Griffin said, Olson told him how "he feels so passionately both from a legal, constitutional perspective but also from a personal conviction that civil rights and human rights" for LGBT people is a just and essential cause.

    Griffin said he has since learned that while publicly advocating for the Republican position on a wide range of issues, Olson has quietly expressed support behind the scenes for equal rights under the law for LGBT people going back at least a decade.

    But to many political advocates, including conservative GOP leaders, Olson created a stir last week when he appeared at a news conference in Los Angeles with gay activists to announce his decision to join constitutional lawyer and Democratic Party advocate David Boies as co-counsel in a federal lawsuit challenging Proposition 8.

    Griffin said he approached Boies to become co-counsel in the case at Olson's request. The two attorneys have been friends for more than 10 years, even as they sometimes worked on opposing sides in cases before the Supreme Court, according to statements they made at the news conference.

    Olson and Boies wouldn't just be the chief lawyers in a case aimed at ultimately allowing same-sex couples to marry in California. The two further startled legal and political observers by announcing at the news conference that they were seeking an injunction in federal court to force California authorities to immediately resume allowing same-sex marriages while the lawsuit wends its way through the federal court system.

    According to Olson and Boies, the case is likely to reach the U.S. Supreme Court, where the two would be ready to present arguments they believe would result in a landmark decision in support of same-sex marriage.

    Many legal experts disagree with Olson and Boies on that question. A coalition of LGBT rights groups issued a joint statement last week saying a same-sex marriage federal lawsuit was premature and could lead to a damaging Supreme Court decision against same-sex marriage rights.

    "In our view, the best way to win marriage equality nationally is to continue working state by state, not to bring premature federal challenges that pose a very high risk of setting a negative U.S. Supreme Court precedent," said Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

    But attorneys behind the newly filed case said they're confident in their approach.

    "Both David and I have studied the court for more years than probably either one of us would like to admit," Olson said the next day at the Los Angeles news conference. "We think we know what we are doing."

    Lou Chibbaro Jr. can be reached at lchibbaro@washblade.com.

  • Kolohe||

    "Indeed, so mainstream has the idea of an integrated force become in Israel that a 2002 film, Yossi & Jagger, depicting the travails and triumphs of a closet gay commander in love with a soldier in his unit"

    Never seen the movie, but it's donning a pair of bad idea jeans to get involved with a commander-subordinate romantic relationship regardless of the genders of either individual.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    From what I've read about ancient Greek armies, homosexual relations between men were acceptable and widespread there. Including Sparta with its semi-legendary military force.

    So I do not particularly believe that introduction of openly gay people into units would reduce their fighting ability. After all, no one probably thinks about sex when under enemy fire.

  • ||

    I was in the military and they are right to keep it as is! I could care less about sexual orientation, but during 'down time' is when the trouble happens. Personally, I'm sick of having the homesexual agenda shoved down my throat...so to speak. I don't wear my sexuality on my sleeve...and I resent those that do. Get over yourselves.

  • ||

    Well, of course, the folks who have zero military experience can't see why gays in the military would open a Pandora's Box of problems.

    Everyone else does it? Everyone else has socialized medicine too, yet I don't see you hopping on board, so spare me with that line of reasoning.

    Stick to what you guys know, which is shooting heroin and molesting teenage boys.

  • ||

    Have you ever noticed how many of these stories there are where there are gays and they would *never* lurk on guys in the shower or hit on them, and etc. Me too... if they would just force really equal rights on all of us, getting rid of *all* sexual discrimination like separate bathrooms for men and women, I *assure* everyone that there would just *never* be any lurking or sexual escapades. I'm just far to noble for that. Let's have fully "equal rights" if we're going to have 'em.

  • ||

    Yes, yes, we've heard all this before.

    Would someone please explain, what is the argument of the 1,000 retired military officers and other military leaders against gays serving openly? Where is this letter to President Obama?

    How about reciting their argument, and disputing it point by point? That would make a refreshing read, instead of this old rehash of the "look abroad!" argument.

  • zoltan||

    Sparta

  • ||

    "In World War II, the United States sacrificed about half a million American soldiers to defeat Nazi racism. Yet the U.S. itself practiced strict racial segregation, including within its military."


    You think we were fighting the Nazis in WWII because they were racists? I'm pretty sure it had more to do with them invading Poland and wanting to dominate the Europe and the rest of the world.

  • ||

    Sosnowski:

    "In any case, the parallel with desegregation is weak, not to say facile; this is an issue of behavior, not identity, certainly not inborn identity."

    Absolutely wrong. This is *not* an issue of behavior. Mearly saying you are gay is grounds to be kicked out of the military. Marrying someone of the same gender is, too. These are totally separate from actually engaging in homosexual sex while you're in the military.

    "Certainly not inborn identity"

    Completely begs the question, and is completely irrelevent to the question of whether or not "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" should be repealed.

  • ||

    "I realize that that particular defense is NOT terribly logical to someone who hasn't been in those situations, but it's the best I can do at trying to explain it."

    Not being there is exactly the point. If it isn't *your* ass that is on the line, it's easy to make snarky remarks about other people's "squeamishness".

    How about this: let's circulate a petition to end DADT and then if one guy gets killed in combat because unit-cohesion was undermined by the presence of open homosexuals, then we'll pick one signer of the petition at random and kill him too, just to make things fair. How many signers do you think that petition gets?

    When *you* are the one who'll get his head blown off -- and when you have a single day's experience in the matter -- then I'll listen to you about what is or is not a good idea in combat.

    The integration of blacks is good example: it's a commonplace to say, "Oh, Harry S. just ordered the military integrated" but that isn't what happened. The early days of the Korean War showed that integrated units were more effective than segregated ones.

    OK, I'm not a complete Neanderthal. Certainly, the structure of the military should not be at odds with the ideals of the society it defends but compared with the onerous restrictions on every other aspect of life in uniform, it seems especially minor to require soldiers to refrain from uttering things like "You know who I like having sex with? Guys." for a few years is not incredibly onerous.

    Soldiers like Daniel Choi aren't kicked out for being gay; they're kicked out for disobeying standing orders. If he had refused to shave his beard or wear his uniform, he would likewise have been discharged. Why is the act of claiming to be gay be so different?

  • ||

    Obama lied to you about EVERYTHING! Why so surprised at this? Get your head out of your ass, eh?

  • ||

    Malvolio: check your facts. Truman motioned to desegregate the armed forces in January of 1948. The Korean War didn't happen until 1950. Even if Truman didn't it for strategic reasons, as you argue, one could easily counter that he could have jeopardized the unity of the armed forces during a time of war when army cohesion was an absolute must.

  • Zoe Brain||

    "The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a challenge to the Pentagon policy forbidding gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, granting an Obama administration request to maintain the Clinton-era "don't ask, don't tell" directive."

    So he's now saying one thing but doing the exact opposite. It's one thing to be a lukewarm supporter rather than the "fearless champion" he promised to be when campaigning. It's quite another to move to outright opposition, as he's done.

  • John E||

    In the words of a grizzled old first class my brother worked with in the Navy. "Let em in I'll F**k em."

  • Richard||

    If a few homos can't be food for the grotesquely immoral military industrial imperialist machine that is destroying our country, what's the harm? I wish they'd kick out blacks, whites, straight men and women, too!

    "Standing armies (are) inconsistent with (a nation's freedom and subversive of their quiet" - TJ

  • Konkey Dong||

    I wonder if Shikha ever gets tired of being completely wrong...

  • Scarpe Nike Italia||

    is good

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